AddAlign is a proprietary platform for marketplace sites to earn more revenue through sharing advice,
streamlining functionality, and drawing in more customers. Effortlessly turning websites into advisor marketplace with built-in white-label teleconferencing, scheduling, and billing.
Interview with Jessica Baker, Founder & CEO of +Align.
Your startup, +Align, is a SAAS solution that turns any website into a thriving marketplace for exchanging knowledge and capital over video conferences. What is it about your role as CEO of +Align that inspires you to continue innovating? What does ultimate success look like for your company?
I think that we have the unique opportunity to build a great business that actually does a lot of good. For experts, website owners, knowledge seekers, the people who teach our kids… That keeps me on track and pushing the envelope. It occurs to me that +Align is in the business of unleashing the power of advice and wisdom, and that it feels like we’re in the flow of that process constantly being inspired.
Ultimate success? Nothing less than the complete liberation of knowledge and wisdom, and a revolution in remote work and learning for millions of people across the globe.
What was the inspiration around +Align’s inception, allowing experts to turn their sites into an advisory marketplace? How did you become aware of this unfulfilled need?
I believe that there are rate times when your calling is clear like a clarion cry. When COVID-19 hit and I saw so much joblessness, difficulties with remote learning and a clear move to remote work enmasse. I saw the world turn to tools like Zoom, where they were forced to have calls off corporate websites. It all seemed so disjointed.
I saw that websites and businesses were so full of human potential represented by experts visiting every site, but connecting with those experts and paying them? Also disjointed and challenging.
Since everyone was using combinations of software like Calendly for scheduling, Zoom for calls and then Square for payments. It just seemed logical as a single whitelabel platform embedded in the client’s own site.
Experts can easily list their skills, knowledge seekers book time with them for video or phone calls and pay per minute. Really simple, but incredibly effective and scalable.
Jessica, you have over 10 years in finance, business analysis, client management and research. How do you translate this experience into your position at +Align? Do you have any advice for founders with less experience in these areas?
The path I started on was the path I thought I “should” be doing. The journey I chose when I took different turns allowed me to explore more and figure out what I was truly passionate about. At AddAlign, I utilize everything I gained in experience and continue to learn more everyday to adjust for the market, different client industries, and scaling. My experience in finance and business analysis certainly helped in developing out the business models, figuring out our pricing, and strategically taking steps towards a solid build from the ground up. My background in client management and research has aided in finding and connecting with senior level decision makers on the capital and client side. Life experience and wearing many hats has brought in so much knowledge that I didn’t know I didn’t know.
For founders with less experience, I would say to leverage what you do know and surround yourself with people that are more brilliant than yourself, and have a stronger skillset in the areas where you are weaker. This way, you each bring a unique perspective and can tackle any situation that arises. Be open to learning new things and meeting new people. The more you know, the more empowered you are with additional tools in your toolbox to utilize if need be. And each new person can bring insight and awareness you might not have seen because they bring a set of fresh eyes to the table.
As your business continues to grow and revolutionize cloud based SAAS, what is the most exciting goal you are currently working towards and how does your team plan on achieving it?
Without a doubt, it’s our new version we intend to release in the next 6 months which removes the requirement for up-front customization costs. Anyone will be able to install our SaaS solution and customize it themselves via a really simple dashboard.
This opens our platform to an enormously wide audience and will be accompanied by major UX improvements.
+Align’s core business offerings relate to your unique turnkey teleconferencing & billing for every marketplace website for education, finance, accountancy, marketplaces and websites. Do you predict your expertise might grow in terms of product offering and target market as your business does?
For sure. Right now our focus is on the core offering: Turn any website into an advisor marketplace. Future versions include unique tools to expand our offering such as A.I. that matches ideal experts to knowledge-seekers based on psychometric profiling.
Our initial target market is education, law and accounting firms, finance websites, wellness… For example: If you came to a site like Seeking Alpha, wouldn’t you love to book time with one of the expert traders to learn about finance in these tough times? We both can and all win together. That’s what +Align is really about: a new paradigm in access to knowledge and monetization of advice.
The ‘future of work’ niche your business is within is specific; how do you find you are best able to build your customer base? Also, have you found COVID-19 has positively or negatively affected your ability to do so?
COVID-19 sped up the demand for businesses’ requirement to offer teleconferencing solutions; however current offerings draw users away, dilute company branding, don’t offer billing and/or scheduling, and is costly to implement.
In early 2020, I was already working hard on a startup focused on aligning people using tried-and-tested psychometric assessment and other forms of personality testing.
When COVID-19 struck the world, unemployment skyrocketed and more people worked from home than ever before. I became inspired with a solution: what if every website or app can become an advisory marketplace with built-in billing and scheduling?
After all, sites are teeming with users and experts. Empowering them to connect could be a revolution for them and the website owner in monetizing the transfer of knowledge and wisdom. And so, the idea of +Align was born.
We believe that more than ever, people need to connect in new ways today and monetize the sharing of wisdom and knowledge. We realize that all websites could become revenue generating sources for experts and the website owners with our solution whilst users can benefit from direct relationships with vetted oracles. It’s a win-win for everyone and can happen from anywhere in the world. Knowledge should know no borders.
So for building a customer base, it’s primarily been about getting the word out there that we exist and that what we offer is possible. As such we have been focusing on partnerships, like One Valley and AppSumo. We have also been involved in different media opportunities, like the 2 Minute drill that will air in June on Amazon and Bloomberg TV. Being involved where our potential clients are, like on Clubhouse and doing outreach through optimized email campaigns.
To learn more, visit: www.addalign.com
Founder Professional Bio:
Jessica Baker is a visionary, business and operational industry leader with strong record of success in finance, strategy, and communication. Internal and External relationship management with executives and investors. Leadership advisor, as seen by over 100 publications (Forbes, AllBusinesses. etc.)
Astute at taking initiative in every facet of new and ongoing deliverables. Tactical decision-maker with passion for innovative work aimed at reducing costs and increasing efficiencies. Skillfully manage day-to-day activities while driving growth and continuously developing concepts to dominate markets and change competitive landscapes forever.
Ms. Baker is currently the CEO of +Align (AddAlign), and involved with LivesAlign.com, and ShelbyShelter.org Non-Profit.. Ms. Baker fuels her business ventures with expertise gained from 10+ years of experience in finance, business analysis, client management and research. Previously specializing solely focused on management consulting in business intelligence projects, she is driven to unleash the power of technology to help individuals connect with the insight and the people who will help them thrive.
Ms. Baker has worked extensively in the information services and financial services industries, through which she has built strong capabilities in organization development and project management.
Jessica is a published author of a few books including “Jump Start Your Love Life: Tips, Tricks and Wisdom from Professional Matchmakers”. She has been on Millionaire Matchmaker with Patti Stanger, Cosmopolitan, a speaker alongside eHarmony and Google at iDate, the largest dating conference in the USA, and more.
Ms. Baker is a certified matchmaker through The Matchmaking Institute. Jessica graduated summa cum laude with a Master of Business Administration in Finance and a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Texas.